Wednesday, December 31, 2014
I'm not sure I will make my annual calendar exam tomorrow. Usually I spend some time on New Years Day looking back through the year by reading through my calendar before I throw it away. This year I am working. I was supposed to go to two New Years Eve parties tonight but I cancelled. After skiing all day yesterday and then skating for several hours today...I just wanted to have a quiet night in...not to mention I had dinner at a friend's house last night and then lunch out with a friend both yesterday and today.
I love that this entire Advent and Christmas season has been packed with fun times and seeing people that I love but don't always get to see! BUT I don't love that I have more friends than time! Yet God is good. And 2014 has been one AWESOME year. This Christmas and Advent season have been AWESOME. I'm blessed.
This is a photo from Haiti right after the earthquake when I was down there working in a hospital almost five years ago. My friends last night wanted to see pictures but I told them I hadn't made them available on any social media...mostly because it felt disrespectful to show their devastation. I know it is random but today it reminds me that all things pass, only God never changes. The good, the bad and the ugly...eventually we move on...phew! And eventually, heaven!
God bless you!
Thursday, December 25, 2014
I was just thinking yesterday about how awe-inspiring it is that GOD became MAN.
Pause....okay....think about that...
And then at Christmas Eve Mass last night father began his homily by stating, "Today we come together to celebrate a wedding: the joining of God and man."
Unlike every other religion that contemplates the idea of God uniting his nature with man as man becoming God only Christianity believes that an omnipotent, omniscient God with no beginning or end entered into our humanity so completely as to become one of us.
Silent night, holy night. All is calm, all is bright.
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Living in the moment right now and soaking it in...I've had such a lovely weekend! It started off yesterday with a run and making cookies with a dear friend that I've come to know this past year and her kids followed by cleaning my house before heading to a work party at a work friend's house. It was generally agreed that this was the BEST work party we've ever had.
This morning my sister's text woke me up reminding me of my nephew's Nativity play that started in 15 minutes. I arrived 5 minutes late. Then my nieces and nephews helped me load my car with chairs before I raced to Mass, arriving 5 minutes late. Home and I was unloading 13 chairs by myself and preparing for the annual Christmas ladies ornament and cookie swap...which my mom and a dear friend began 16 years ago and which continues at my house with...get this: 32 women this year.
Just so ya know...my house is small. Of course I was out of coffee, my coffee maker broke, I don't own a teapot and I was low on hand soap...which I discovered just hours before the party began. Thankfully friends came through and all was carried off successfully...even down to Kahlua and Bailey's for the coffee and hot chocolate. The yankee swap for the ornaments lasted two hours and by the time everyone left I was exhausted. I returned a call to my parents, ecstatic to find they had enjoyed their afternoon at a live show with tickets I gave them last August for their anniversary, before reaching out to my pseudo-grandmother and another friend who missed the party via phone...now I'm waiting for my chicken parmesan to cook while I enjoy my solo after-party...living in the moment...loving this season...and so happy Christmas is around the corner. I am so blessed and God is so good. :0)
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Sometimes when the Christmas season begins all I can remember is the rush, craziness and work that I have to put into it every year.
Father Barron has been sending out daily meditations about preparing and waiting...but I think that this time of year flies by SO QUICKLY that the waiting is nonexistent and the PREPARATION is all-consuming! Yet none of it is difficult and I don't want to stop or give anything up!
I love decorating the house, sending and receiving Christmas cards, making cookies with the kids, having ornament and cookie swaps, going Christmas caroling, Christmas work parties, driving around looking at Christmas lights, listening to Christmas music, gathering and sending gifts to family members, going to Christmas shows and most especially CHRISTMAS itself with the Holy Mass and time spent with family.
My job makes much of this possible so I am even grateful for it and my friends and family that consume my time ALSO FILL my life with LOVE. God is very good. I can't even begin to imagine how busy heaven must be...preparing...Immanuel, God is with us.
Monday, December 15, 2014
Okay so I know Advent is upon us and Christmas is almost upon us and I have a myriad of topics I could write about...but I have to tell you about these mice! Today I found a mouse dead with *JUST HIS HAND STUCK UNDER THE TRAP* so how in the world did my other traps disappear?!?? I am very scared to entertain the idea that maybe I have more than a mouse living here: maybe I have a rat!? AAACCCKKKK....kerplunk (that was me fainting). The other trap I set was completely untouched. Either the super mice are getting smarter or I have just killed off the dumb ones.
I doubt this is the last mouse since I woke up around 4am and heard them in the rafters again. I might need to move. To a world that doesn't have rodents.
Plumber is coming tomorrow: yay! I went skiing today: yay!! Had a great time...family owned place with wicked nice, friendly people. I took a refresher lesson before going out on my own (my last ski trip was basically my first) and am SO GLAD I did! I learned parallel turns, to always face down the mountain and most importantly: that I can do this. Confidence is so key to any endeavor! Whether athletic, academic, spiritual or relationship-wise! Confidence in God and confidence that it can be done!
Saturday, December 13, 2014
I have this problem EVERY YEAR! Christmas is almost upon me and I have not done anything except well umm, nothing. I did watch Die Hard tonight (is that one word?) for the first time...I had no idea it was a Christmas movie. There is a lot of swearing for a Christmas movie.
I have exactly three days to get everything together for my sister and her family (who live farther away) as we are all getting together later this week. And I should REALLY get my parents and siblings and their families' things together in the mail before the end of this week. Yah, really, I should.
Not stressed about it. Thirty-four years so far and Christmas always gets done. :o) I am a little stressed by mice and water heaters. That's because I went down to my basement this morning to discover two things: one was a puddle around my water heater...and the other was missing mousetraps which means that there are right now three mice running around with mousetraps attached to them or maybe one mouse with three but anyway you slice it: the mice have now run off with three traps. These super mice are a bit creepy and quite frankly I find this latest antic disturbing. Today I bought the kind of traps I used last year with success and set them out...hopefully I will catch a mouse tonight with three other mousetraps attached to him.
Blessed to have the next five days off from work so I can prepare for Christmas. I also hope to get in my first ski of the winter but that depends on the water heater and the plumber's schedule. Honestly, the biggest hardship of being single (for me) is dealing with plumbers and auto-mechanics. I inevitably feel taken advantage of. I know it's all in my head...but there it stays regardless of my common sense which doesn't seem to be able to talk myself out of it.
On a positive note I was able to send out Christmas cards!! And tomorrow I am going to dress up like Santa and run 3 miles! :o)
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Fourteenth Rule. The fourteenth: Likewise, he behaves as a chief bent on conquering and robbing what he desires: for, as a captain and chief of the army, pitching his camp, and looking at the forces or defences of a stronghold, attacks it on the weakest side, in like manner the enemy of human nature, roaming about, looks in turn at all our virtues, theological, cardinal and moral; and where he finds us weakest and most in need for our eternal salvation, there he attacks us and aims at taking us.
I don't know why but this rule sticks in my head the most...I find it coming to mind when I am tempted or having desolate thoughts: the attacks are effective because the one attacking knows what he is doing. But no matter how wily or canny he is, he doesn't win! And no matter how weak we are, God is giving us the strength to continue on. We shouldn't be surprised to find that suffering hurts or fears make us scared or temptations lead us toward wrong things that we really do want to do...the enemy is real, he is artful, and he's been doing his job for thousands upon thousands of years...so basically he is good at what he does. But God is stronger and he's there whether we feel him or not, which means that even in our weakest moment...we're okay.
So get to work: identify those desolate thoughts. Pray and make sacrifices within your scope, tell a trusted spiritual friend and be patient. Heaven is worth it. And God loves you.
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Thirteenth Rule. The thirteenth: Likewise, he acts as a licentious lover in wanting to be secret and not revealed. For, as the licentious man who, speaking for an evil purpose, solicits a daughter of a good father or a wife of a good husband, wants his words and persuasions to be secret, and the contrary displeases him much, when the daughter reveals to her father or the wife to her husband his licentious words and depraved intention, because he easily gathers that he will not be able to succeed with the undertaking begun: in the same way, when the enemy of human nature brings his wiles and persuasions to the just soul, he wants and desires that they be received and kept in secret; but when one reveals them to his good Confessor or to another spiritual person that knows his deceits and evil ends, it is very grievous to him, because he gathers, from his manifest deceits being discovered, that he will not be able to succeed with his wickedness begun.
He's sneaky...that he is! So in just this way we must be on guard! And how good it is to have a spiritual friend or confessor so that he may be found out. So many times I have been tempted, drawn down in desolation or just plain deceived and in speaking with my spiritual director or a good spiritual friend been brought out once again. The devil is a keeper of secrets...but of secrets not meant to be hidden. Come to the light, he will not succeed!
Monday, December 8, 2014
Twelfth Rule. The twelfth: The enemy acts like a woman, in being weak against vigor and strong of will. Because, as it is the way of the woman when she is quarrelling with some man to lose heart, taking flight when the man shows her much courage: and on the contrary, if the man, losing heart, begins to fly, the wrath, revenge, and ferocity of the woman is very great, and so without bounds; in the same manner, it is the way of the enemy to weaken and lose heart, his temptations taking flight, when the person who is exercising himself in spiritual things opposes a bold front against the temptations of the enemy, doing diametrically the opposite. And on the contrary, if the person who is exercising himself commences to have fear and lose heart in suffering the temptations, there is no beast so wild on the face of the earth as the enemy of human nature in following out his damnable intention with so great malice.
I love this example because I completely understand what he's talking about... Or rather it makes it clear that no matter how devious desolation or the devil can be... He's already been found out. So really, we win. :0) On the flip side, giving in a little will quickly lead to a lottle...
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Humility is truth. It takes away self-doubt and self-loathing. It helps us to see who we are and who God is. And it makes it all bearable. In this rule St Ignatius focuses in on the importance of humility in times of consolation and in times of desolation. Our focus is so much clearer when we are looking at Christ and not ourselves.
Eleventh Rule. The eleventh: Let him who is consoled see to humbling himself and lowering himself as much as he can, thinking how little he is able for in the time of desolation without such grace or consolation. On the contrary, let him who is in desolation think that he can do much with the grace sufficient to resist all his enemies, taking strength in his Creator and Lord.
Humility really does lead to peace.